Tennessee Enacts Second Amendment Privacy Act, Protecting Firearm Buyers

Tennessee enacts law to protect financial privacy of gun owners, prohibiting firearm codes and discrimination by financial institutions. This landmark legislation aims to safeguard Second Amendment rights and prevent misuse of purchase data.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Tennessee Enacts Second Amendment Privacy Act, Protecting Firearm Buyers

Tennessee Enacts Second Amendment Privacy Act, Protecting Firearm Buyers

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed the NSSF-supported Second Amendment Privacy Act into law, making Tennessee the 13th state to enact legislation protecting the privacy and sensitive financial information of people who purchase firearms and ammunition.

The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2024, prohibits financial institutions from requiring the use of a firearm code, also known as a Merchant Category Code (MCC), for retail firearms and ammunition purchases.

The Second Amendment Privacy Act also forbids financial institutions from discriminating against firearms retailers based on the assignment or non-assignment of a firearm code. Additionally, the law prohibits the maintenance of any list, register, or record of private firearm ownership. Violations of the law can result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000 and an investigation by the state attorney general.

Why this matters: The enactment of the Second Amendment Privacy Act in Tennessee is part of a growing trend of states taking action to protect the financial privacy of lawful gun owners. The law aims to prevent the potential misuse of firearm purchase data for political purposes and ensure that citizens can exercise their Second Amendment rights without fear of surveillance or discrimination.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearm industry trade association, worked closely with Tennessee lawmakers to pass this legislation and praised Governor Lee for signing the Second Amendment Privacy Act into law. Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel, stated, "This law is crucial to ensuring that the citizens of Tennessee can exercise their Second Amendment rights without fear of being placed on a watchlist or having their private financial information exploited for political purposes."

Similar laws protecting the privacy of firearm purchases have been enacted in other states, including Florida, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Federal legislation, such as the Freedom from Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates (FIREARM) Act, has also been introduced in Congress to protect consumer purchase privacy at the national level.

The signing of the Second Amendment Privacy Act in Tennessee constitutes a significant victory for gun rights advocates and a step towards safeguarding the privacy of lawful firearm owners. As more states consider similar legislation, the debate over balancing public safety concerns with individual privacy rights about firearm purchases is likely to continue.

Key Takeaways

  • Tennessee enacted the Second Amendment Privacy Act to protect gun owners' financial privacy.
  • The law prohibits financial institutions from requiring firearm codes or discriminating against gun retailers.
  • Violations can result in a $10,000 civil penalty and investigation by the state attorney general.
  • This law is part of a growing trend of states protecting the privacy of lawful gun owners.
  • Similar laws have been enacted in other states, and federal legislation has been introduced.